2017 Volkswagen Passat V6 SEL Premium
Class: Midsize Car
Miles Driven: 428
Fuel Used: 17.4 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 24.6 mpg
|CG Report Card|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Room and Comfort||A|
|Power and Performance||B+|
|Fit and Finish||A-|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
Driving mix: 29% city, 71% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 20/28/23 (city/highway/combined)
Base price: $33,995 (not including $820 destination charge)
Options on test car: None
Price as tested: $34,815
The great: Passenger and cargo room, interior fit & finish, intuitive control layout, snappy power
The good: Ride/handling combination
The not so good: Trunklid hinges dip into load area, fuel economy
While we’ve driven a couple other trim levels of Passats in the past year – including a lower-level SE and range-topping SEL Premium – both were 2016 models powered by the base 1.8-liter turbo four rated at 170 horsepower. This example was also an SEL Premium, but a 2017 powered by VW’s 3.6-liter V6 with 280 horsepower, at least (as the company’s website notes) when running on premium-grade fuel.
As we found with the 2016 SEL Premium, Passat’s top trim level forms a very roomy, luxurious package. With the 3.6-liter V6 engine, it’s all that … with some added muscle.
Even in halfway-determined standing starts, the front tires would protest with a chirp against the V6’s strong torque. Stand on it, and there’d be another as the transmission upshifted through the lower gears. The V6 feels equally strong when asked to accelerate the car while underway, something that’s aided by quick transmission kickdowns. Highway cruising and passing are brisk and confident, and the 6-speed automated-manual transmission seemed quite smooth—something that not all such transmissions can claim.
In 428 miles of mostly highway driving, we averaged 24.6 mpg, about what we’d expect given the car’s 20 city/28 highway/23 combined EPA figures. That’s hardly thrifty for a midsize sedan, but certainly in line for a midsize sedan with this much power.
As mentioned, the SEL Premium – whether with turbo four or V6 engine – is the top dog in the Passat lineup. But you can also get the potent V6 in less-expensive SE w/Technology form, which pares some equipment but also pares the price; at just over 30 grand, it saves a whopping $4700.
But at $34,815, the tested V6 SEL Premium comes with all the Passat has to offer, as there are no option packages. And that’s quite a lot. Particularly if you appreciate the car’s stately character, near full-size room, luxury-level trimming, and V6 power, this is really a premium-level sedan at a VW price.